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Cottonwood Sand Mine controversy stirs among Rancho San Diego residents

Aug 16, 2023

by: Kasia Gregorczyk

Posted: Jul 26, 2023 / 06:01 AM PDT

Updated: Jul 26, 2023 / 06:03 AM PDT

SAN DIEGO — An East County community continues to pushback against a proposed sand mine on a golf course.

Local Rancho San Diego residents packed a meeting Tuesday to hear about the project’s environmental impact report and provide their own feedback.

“We have to keep everybody involved, because you don’t hear anything that ‘oh it’s over.’ Either they won or we won and there’s no sand mine, but neither is the case,” said Elizabeth Urquhart, Chair of Stop Cottonwood Sand Mine.

Five years after Cottonwood Sand Mine was first proposed on 214 acres of Cottonwood Golf Course, the community is as committed as ever to stop the project.

“It’s hard to imagine a 214 acre open pit sand mine being shoehorned into a residential community and then pumping out air pollution, water pollution, traffic congestion, and that not having a significant impact on our community,” said Brian Lorenz.

The project is near homes and a school. The proposed sand mining operation would take place over 10 years with an additional two years of clean up.

“The dust from it creates health issues. It’s going to impact the quality of the water,” said Dan Weber.

In February 2022, it reached the public review process for the environmental impact report, or “EIR.” On Tuesday, the recirculation of the EIR came with some changes.

The county’s presentation included an additional stormwater quality management plan and it was determined that an additional 58 trucks per day would be required to import suitable backfill material.

“Which is one going by either to or from every 1.3 minutes or 78 seconds,” said Urquhart.

Developers behind the Cottonwood SandMmine did not speak at Tuesday’s meeting, but spokesperson Kenneth Moore sent FOX 5 this statement:

“The cottonwood proposal would transform a defunct golf course property into permanent, preserved open space through a community-minded and phased approach. In the short term, the physical aspects of the golf course would be decommissioned, sand supplies would be gathered temporarily, and environmental restoration efforts would be implemented quickly. When completed, this proposal would create 200 of acres of carefully restored open space, reimagine a water-wasting and obsolete golf course, and help address the San Diego region’s skyrocketing housing and infrastructure construction costs by providing local sand supplies.”

It’s estimated the project will wrap up the environmental review and move forward to the county planning commission sometime next year.



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